There was a time, you were probably six or seven, when you wanted to grow up and be something so incredibly awesome that all society could do was talk you down from the edge of possibility and make sure your dreams stayed safely within the box.
“You can’t do that,” they may have said, and so you believed them, albeit somewhat begrudgingly.
It happened to most of us. However, it did not happen for Chris Steininger.
When Chris was six or seven years old he was into LEGO bricks just like the rest of us, and his dad Dan would play with him as fathers are prone to do. They would build cars and race them down the hallway — a demolition derby that could be rebuilt on the spot. The walls would get chipped and dented, and Dan would mend them to do it all again.
“He used to cheat,” Chris claimed. “He would add weight to the cars, and I didn’t know the difference.”
Dan didn’t argue the point.
And when Chris wanted to grow up to build things with LEGO his dad didn’t tell him that it couldn’t be done, rather he proved that it could. The two of them became Master Builders with LEGO and they have never looked back.
These days the Steininger men, father and son, work together and build together — the metaphors write themselves.
I had met both Chris and Dan before — Chris at the inaugural Dad 2.0 Summit and Dan at a Downtown Disney Lego Store event. This was the first time that I had spoken to them together.
“Do you ever get tired of it?” I asked.
“No,” Dan answered. “As much as we both enjoy LEGO, it doesn’t get boring.
“And now I hang around to train my grandson.”
Yes, the Steininger line has increased, and Dan, ever the doting grandfather, has seized the moment(s) to build with a new generation. He spends his free time with his grandson and LEGO DUPLO, the bigger brick that many parents, myself included, have written off as the steppingstone to fancy Star Wars sets.
Apparently that isn’t the case.
“We use DUPLO bricks in builds all the time. They interlock with smaller LEGO bricks.”
I stand corrected.
“DUPLO bricks,” said Chris. “Are great for parents who aren’t as strong at building.”
I didn’t take it personally.
“And they are a learning tool,” added Dan. “Parents and grandparents can use DUPLO bricks to practice colors, counting, shapes, order, patterns, math…”
In fact, LEGO DUPLO has proven so popular with grandparents that enjoy the opportunity for educational fun that there is a LEGO DUPLO Playful Grandparents Club and a LEGO DUPLO Play Phone line for grandparents to call.
Not only that, LEGO DUPLO has plenty of fancy sets in its own right: The Disney Princesses, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Cars 2, Planes — all kinds of Disney building fun!
I have got to admit, I’m jealous. Not only is the job of LEGO Master Builder just about the coolest career path ever, but the idea of sharing that kind of quality time with my own kids sounds fantastic.
I want to build metaphors like that, even if they are out of bricks.
For the record, this is NOT a sponsored post, I just think that a father and son following a dream together is a story worth sharing, and if that story happens to get grandparents and grandchildren building, playing, and learning together then all the better. It’s about the story, people! Also, the people.
Read more from Whit Honea at his site Honea Express. You can follow Whit on the Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble or most rational people).